Mountain scenery and the guarantee of hot, sunny conditions have lured some members of the Petersfield-based Sky Surfing Club overseas.
Jose Pinto has just returned from the Catalan area of north-east Spain, having taken part in the 46th Spanish Hang Gliding Championship and International Open. The event was based in the town of Ager, overlooked by the 40km-long Serra del Montsec mountain range.
The trip began with flying friends in the Prealps region of southern France.
Pinto said: “We visited three sites: Laragne, Mens and La Bateau Neuve. Mens was the most scenic and spectacular. We launched from 4,000ft and climbed to 8,000ft.”
After a rest day in Barcelona, the second part of the adventure began with the arrival at Ager and the international competition. Pinto entered the Sports Class category for Class One (flex-wing) hang gliders, which is focused on co-operation and pilot development.
He said: “The local experts were very friendly, giving advice on the best strategies to cover more ground and providing information on safe landing options around the area.
“The perfect flight is one which ends with a landing at Chiringuito, a beautiful lakeside location 25km north of the launch with a beach, a place to cool off with a swim and a bar serving beer. It was an intense and immersive week. We flew six out of a possible seven days, completing a variety of tasks.”
Pinto took first place in task one and task six, which placed him fifth overall.
He said: “The adventure was a great learning experience – flying in mountain conditions, programming the flight computer and using instrumentation to follow a set course.”